Country artist Robby Armstrong has a lot going on right now. He just released his debut album and three of the tracks from that self-titled project are on the official soundtrack of a new movie featuring Catherine Diaz and Colin Firth. And the California native is splitting his time between his home in Huntington Beach, Calif., and Nashville.
The album was co-produced by Armstrong and Darrell Brown (LeAnn Rimes, Ty Herndon, Radney Foster) and he wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 13 tracks, including “Married Man,” which he co-wrote with Foster, and “As Long As You’re Happy,” with co-writers Brown and Liz Rose, who often writes with Taylor Swift.
“To me, that was one of the greatest eye-opening experiences of all, as far as writing goes,” Armstrong says. “I think Liz and Radney have done it for so long, and have been so successful at it, that to get in a room with them, and experiment with them and their formula of writing songs was a real blessing.”
The track list also includes Armstrong’s debut single “Rodeo” and his current release “Birthday Happy.” Those two songs, along with “Smokin’ and Drinkin’,” which he co-wrote with producer Brown, are featured in the major motion picture “Gambit.” Armstrong and his band make a cameo appearance in the movie, too. “Rodeo” has also been featured in The Sims video game.
A couple of favorite tracks on the album include “The First,” a happy-go-lucky song about how his wife is the second-luckiest person on the Earth, making him the first luckiest person when she said yes to his marriage proposal. “Married Man” offers a two-step swing to understanding the mystery of being married to a woman. “As Long As You’re Happy” (Armstrong, Brown and Rose) is a reflective song, with its spoken verses, about what really matters in life. “Guitars and Babies” are things, like stars in the sky, that you can never have too many of (he has five kids).
“Hard Way to Go” is the only track Armstrong didn’t write. It’s about being between the bottle and the Bible, and while the twists and turns that can take your life the wrong way, the right way is really the hard way to go, but the way to go. Sarah Buxton joins him on background vocals.
What’s really refreshing about this album is that it’s not more of the same that fills the country airwaves today. Instead of pushing the button when I hear a Kenny, Carrie, Luke or Jason song for the third time, I’d hang around and listen to a Robby Armstrong song.
Armstrong and his wife help several causes in the Long Beach area, including homeless children and pet adoption. For a public television pet adoption show, he writes a song each week about a featured pet, which is usually adopted.
You can get his album at iTunes and other digital retailers. Or visit robbyarmstrong.net.
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BABY NEWS!! Add Joey + Rory to the list of new and soon-to-be new parents. The couple are expecting their first child in February. Congrats!
I just picked up a copy of their new “Inspired” CD of inspirational songs. A good listen. Joey has a sweet, gentle voice. And it’s good to hear Rory solo, too.
Joey is planning to have the baby at home on the farm with a midwife.
Heidi Feek (Rory’s daughter from a previous marriage) released her debut album, “The Only” today. The twentysomething Feek describes herself as having “the swoon of Patsy Cline, the vibe of Chris Isaak, and the balls of Neko Case.” The songs are evocative of the days when Roy Orbison ruled the Nashville sound, yet with Feek’s edgy vocal stylings.
Feek said she has many childhood memories of tagging along with her dad as he made the rounds in Nashville in the ’90s. She says he is one of her biggest music inspirations. “He instilled an attention to detail in me, lyrically, that I’m very thankful for. He would always play me his new songs and ask for my opinions on them. Then he would smile at me like I wasn’t 9 years old and knew what I was talking about.”
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Rodney Atkins has a new baby, too — well, sort of. His new single is “Doin’ It Right” and is available from iTunes. The song will be released to radio the week of Oct.14.
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Oct. 10 — Casey James, Rames Head Live, Baltimore
Oct. 10 — Vince Gill, H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, Shippensburg, Pa.
Oct. 11 — Lee Brice, Fillmore Silver Spring
Oct. 12 — Craig Morgan, with Raven Cliff; Rams Head Live, Baltimore
Oct.13 — Zac Brown Band, Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Va.
Oct. 14 — Phil Vassar, Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
Oct. 20 — Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
Nov. 1 — Travis Tritt, Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda
Nov. 1 — Dailey & Vincent, Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
Nov. 6 — Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline Theater, Winchester, Va.
Nov. 8 — John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival); DAR Constitution Hall in Washington. $55 to $75 (and don’t forget to wear a plaid shirt!)
Nov. 13 — Eli Young Band, Rams Head Live! Baltimore
Nov. 13 — The Time Jumpers, Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
Nov. 17 — David Nail, The Fillmore Silver Spring
Nov. 21 — Trace Adkins, H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, Silver Spring
Nov. 23 — Alison Krauss, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington
Nov. 23 — Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch, Patriot Center, Fairfax, Va.
Nov. 29 — LoCash Cowboys, Cancun Cantina, Hanover